How Not to Design a Website, Courtesy of a Lousy Indonesian Airline

Last Updated Mar 21, 2011 3:34 PM EDT

There are plenty of mutually contradictory theories out there around how to best design a website. But on rare occasions, some sites are so bad that they get awful reviews from nearly everyone. PT. Tri-M.G. Intra Asia Airlines -- a regional airline based in Indonesia with all kinds of problems -- has one such, and others can learn a lot from it. Well, in the negative sense, at least.

Really, having a bad website is the least of this airline's problems. It has already been banned by the European Union for being unsafe in a country that has a notoriously unsafe aviation industry. But a website is the face for a company, and this one appears to represent it accurately.

I present to you the website:

And now, here's what's wrong with it.
  • Sounds of silence -- Do not have sound that automatically plays. Nobody wants to hear it, and more important, they also really don't want to disturb their officemates. It's usually completely unnecessary, anyway. If you insist on including sound, let your visitors click to start it -- and don't bother including a balance adjuster like these guys did. Nobody cares.
  • Sounds part deux -- If you choose to ignore the first suggestion, at least make it easy for users to turn the sound off. This site has a stop button -- but it only turns the music off. The site still plays you some loud jet-engine noise as background.
  • Avoid Flash -- Don't use Flash for your entire website. Please. Not everyone can get Flash to work on their devices and it adds nothing of substance. There are good applications for Flash in parts of a website, but to have the entire website powered by Flash is not a good plan.
  • Cut the cutesy intro -- When someone clicks "About Us," that means they want to know more about your company. Please don't waste their time by setting up an intro with graphics leading into your "About Us" section, or any section for that matter. You're hurting your chances of getting business. People won't wait very long.
  • No auto-scrolling -- People read at different paces, so why would you want to have something that automatically scrolls through the text? You wouldn't. Let people scroll when they want and not when you want. Even if you include a speed adjuster, you're adding an annoyance to the process.
  • Home button -- Make it easy for people to get back to the homepage. If they want to leave your site, they will. If they want to learn more, they'll look to go back to the homepage. Why are you hiding this?
  • Use spell check -- Grammar mistakes are annoying, but some are worse than others. I'm guessing that we're getting a "message" from the President Director and not a "massage." If it's a language issue, then use a professional service or a native speaker to ensure you get it right.
In the end, the website for this company is driving away customers from the business instead of bringing them in. That's obviously a very bad thing.
  • Brett Snyder

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